Yesterday was a sad day for many people especially for the people of France. As another living being, I mourn for those lost and suffering. Seeing how I have friends who live in or near Paris, I am deeply concerned for my friends’ well-being.
As an American, who is old enough to remember 9/11 clearly, I can relate to the shock of such an attack. I remember that day well.
I was 17, and it was around 06:30. I lived in Reno, NV so there was three hours’ difference between time zones. I wasn’t feeling well and trying to wake up after staying up too late on a school night. Then the phone rang, it was my stepdad: Me: “Hello?” Him: “Turn on CNN! Turn on CNN!” Me: “What, why?” Him: “Just turn on CNN!” Then he hung up.
Groggy, I got up and slowly turned on the TV. Then I was the twin towers, both of them on fire. The headline read something about a terrorist attack in NYC. New York?!?! I was shocked and didn’t quite believe what I was seeing. I don’t know how long I just stood there watching. Trying to understand what was going on. Then I realized that Mum, who was sleeping *needed* to see what I was seeing.
I barged into Mum’s room babbling and trying to convey what was going on, but the words didn’t come out right at all. Something like, “The World Trade! The World, the world! New York! World buildings!” She was too confused to understand what I was trying to say and told me just to let her sleep until it was time for her to take us to school. I don’t blame her at all for this. She couldn’t have known what I had just seen on the news, and she truly did need her sleep.
I quickly got ready for school and went back to the living room. There I stared at the TV. I learned about the other planes. The one that hit the Pentagon. The one that was likely headed for the White House that was brought down before it reached its distention. Soon after Mum came in the room. I think she said “Oh, my God!” I don’t know I was too shocked to care really.
I left for school just after the first building collapsed. Just before my sisters and I went out the door for Mum to take us to school Mum gathered us together and told us to pray for those people and the world. We had no idea who it was or what was going to happen.
When I got to school, several of my friends were in the hall. One of them was the head of the prayer group that gathered every morning. Now it’s important to know that I tell you I wasn’t Christian and openly wore a pentacle around my neck, but My friend invited me to pray with them. I accepted the offer, and there I stood holding hands with my friend and a group of people I often clashed with over more often than not petty differences. I prayed. I prayed because I didn’t know what else to do because these people were calling out for help and were offering support. At that moment, I realized that we were all just frightened people doing what we knew how to do. We were all just trying to cope with this major event.
Yes, that day changed my life. No, I didn’t personally know any of the victims but on that day I vowed not to let whoever organized those attacks win. I’ve taken it a step further now and have made it my life’s work to do my part in doing all I can to be understanding of all people. All walks of life. I don’t hate Muslims or the people of the Middle East. I do, however, hate the hideous actions of these radical groups. On this day, I ask everyone to stand with me and each other I want to see the world united against these monsters. I want all of us to take a stand and tell them that we will not be divided nor will we cower in the dark. These actions are awful, and they are not okay in any way shape or form.
It’s ironic that this is the first time I’ve openly shared my memories of 9/11 but I feel that if there’s any “good” time to do so than this is likely the best time. I hope that this can reach at least a few people and help them to know that they’re not alone. United we stand!